School of Humanities and Sciences
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Associate Professor of Physics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsIn between the few-particle realm where we have mastered quantum mechanics and the macroscopic domain describable by classical physics, there lies a broad swath of territory where quantum effects are relevant but still largely out of our control and partly beyond our comprehension. This territory includes metrological instruments whose precision is limited by the quantum projection noise of millions of atoms; and materials whose bulk properties emerge from many-body interactions intractable to simulation on classical computers. Professor Schleier-Smith’s research aims to advance our control and understanding of many-particle quantum systems by engineering new quantum states and Hamiltonians with ensembles of laser-cooled atoms.
Professor of Physics, Emeritus
BioAlan received his PhD from Rice University. He has acted as a research associate, associate professor, and professor at Stanford University. Research interests include the development of optical techniques that exploit the unique capabilities of the Free Electron Laser (FEL) in materials and biomedical research.
Paul Pigott Professor of Physical Sciences, Professor of Applied Physics, of Physics and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDr. Shen's main research interest lies in the area of condensed matter and materials physics, as well as the applications of materials and devices. He develops photon based innovative instrumentation and advanced experimental techniques, ranging from angle-resolved photoemission to microwave imaging, soft x-ray scattering and time domain spectroscopy and scattering. He has created a body of literature that advanced our understanding of quantum materials, including superconductors, semiconductors, novel magnets, topological insulators, novel carbon and electron emitters. He is best known for his discoveries of the momentum structure of anisotropic d-wave pairing gap and anomalous normal state pseudogap in high temperature superconductors. He has further leveraged the advanced characterization tool to make better materials through thin film and interface engineering.
Richard Herschel Weiland Professor
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsProfessor Shenker’s research focuses on quantum gravity, in particular string theory and M theory, with an emphasis on nonperturbative aspects.
Professor of Physics
BioProfessor Silverstein conducts research in theoretical physics -- particularly gravitation and cosmology, as well as recently developing new methods and applications for machine learning.
What are the basic degrees of freedom and interactions underlying gravitational and particle physics? What is the mechanism behind the initial seeds of structure in the universe, and how can we test it using cosmological observations? Is there a holographic framework for cosmology that applies throughout the history of the universe, accounting for the emergent effects of horizons and singularities? What new phenomena arise in quantum field theory in generic conditions such as finite density, temperature, or in time dependent backgrounds?
Professor Silverstein attacks basic problems in several areas of theoretical physics. She develops concrete and testable mechanisms for cosmic inflation, accounting for its sensitivity to very high energy physics. This has led to a fruitful interface with cosmic microwave background research, contributing to a more systematic analysis of its observable phenomenology.
Professor Silverstein also develops mechanisms for stabilizing the extra dimensions of string theory to model the accelerated expansion of the universe. In addition, Professor Silverstein develops methods to address questions of quantum gravity, such as singularity resolution and the physics of black hole and cosmological horizons.
Areas of focus:
- optimization algorithms derived from physical dynamics, analyzing its behavior and advantages theoretically and in numerical experiments
- UV complete mechanisms and systematics of cosmic inflation, including string-theoretic versions of large-field inflation (with gravity wave CMB signatures) and novel mechanisms involving inflaton interactions (with non-Gaussian signatures in the CMB)
-Systematic theory and analysis of primordial Non-Gaussianity, taking into account strongly non-linear effects in quantum field theory encoded in multi-point correlation functions
-Long-range interactions in string theory and implications for black hole physics
- Concrete holographic models of de Sitter expansion in string theory, aimed at upgrading the AdS/CFT correspondence to cosmology
- Mechanisms for non-Fermi liquid transport and $2k_F$ singularities from strongly coupled finite density quantum field theory
- Mechanisms by which the extra degrees of freedom in string theory induce transitions and duality symmetries between spaces of different topology and dimensionality
Associate Professor of Physics and Applied Physics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsJon's group focuses on exploring synthetic quantum matter using the unique tools available through quantum and classical optics. We typically think of photons as non-interacting, wave-like particles. By harnessing recent innovations in Rydberg-cavity- and circuit- quantum electrodynamics, the Simonlab is able to make photons interact strongly with one another, mimicking collisions between charged electrons. By confining these photons in ultra-low-loss metamaterial structures, the teams "teach" the photons to behave as though they have mass, are in traps, and are experiencing magnetic fields, all by using the structures to tailor the optical dispersion. In total, this provides a unique platform to explore everything from Weyl-semi-metals, to fractional quantum hall puddles, to Mott insulators and quantum dots, all made of light.
The new tools developed in this endeavor, from twisted fabry-perot resonators, to Rydberg atom ensembles, Floquet-modulated atoms, and coupled cavity optical mode converters, have broad applications in information processing and communication. Indeed, we are now commissioning a new experiment aimed at interconverting optical and mm-wave photons using Rydberg atoms inside of crossed optical and superconducting millimeter resonators as the transducer.
Professor (Research) of Physics, Emeritus
BioTodd received his PhD from Rice University. He acted as an assistant professor of physics and electrical engineering, senior research physicist, and professor of physics. Research interests include experimental accelerator physics, laser physics, and superconductivity. His specialty is free electron lasers.